Why Do People Get Married?

Groom holding bride's hands during the ceremony

In the midst of choosing the perfect wedding dress, debating the merits of different wedding invitation wording, and worrying about wedding guest etiquette, it's not uncommon for couples to wonder why do people get married? Marriage is about much more than a fancy party or a sparkling ring, and understanding the underlying reasons to get married can help couples be sure they are making the right choice as they plan their special day.

Reasons to Get Married

Every couple has different reasons to get married that apply to their unique relationship, and many couples share similar reasons for planning the long walk down the aisle. Whether a couple's reasons are purely emotional, legal, financial, or some combination of these or other reasons, recognizing why marriage is important can help them understand the commitment they have to their long term relationship.


Emotional reasons are the most noticeable reason for people to get married. The companionship, romance, and love a couple shares can compel them to make the commitment to spend the rest of their lives together. Not all emotional reasons are romantic, however. Some people may choose to get married because of fear - fear that they will always be alone or that they will not find someone else to share their life with. Some people may also get married out of anger, either to spite their parents or another individual with whom they've had a relationship.

While the positive emotions behind wanting to get married can make the event seem magical, the negative emotions for marriage can be devastating. Couples should carefully examine their emotional motivation for marriage before they commit to their I do's.


Getting married can be very practical for financial reasons. A married couple can take advantage of tax breaks associated with marriage, and the legal commitment of a marriage ensures financial security for providing for children. Sharing medical insurance for couples and families can also be very cost effective, and couples can enjoy financial benefits with regards to communal property, inheritances, retirement accounts, and other financial matters.


Legal reasons can also explain why do people get married for practical affairs. If a couple is legally married, they can invoke hospital visitation rights and caregiver decisions with fewer bureaucratic roadblocks. Parental and property rights are also easier to manage legally when a couple is married, including issues such as employment sick leave, next of kin, and home ownership.


Many couples also choose to get married for religious reasons. In some faiths, a couple may not be considered married if they only complete a civil ceremony - a religious ceremony is required to confirm their union before the eyes of God. A couple who shares the same or similar faiths may want to honor their relationship with that religious commitment, or if their faiths are different they may plan an interfaith marriage ceremony to blend their spirituality together.


Modern society also puts pressure on couples to marry. While cohabitation and open commitments are more acceptable and more common than ever before, the solid commitment of a marriage ceremony is still sought after as a firm indication of a couple's bond. Many couples feel intense peer pressure to marry from their parents, relatives, or other married friends, particularly if they already have children or plan to start a family. Single individuals may also be pressured to "settle down" and get married, and for some people, the appeal of a party to celebrate their union is incentive enough to get married.

So, Why Do People Get Married?

With so many reasons to get married, it is important for couples to truly examine their relationship and decide why they want to make this commitment to one another. Some reasons are good, some reasons are bad, and some reasons are irrelevant to the way a couple may feel about a long term relationship. Every couple planning their wedding should carefully consider just why they want to get married, and they should consider those reasons with realistic expectations. For example, a couple who is deeply in love needs to realize that the fresh romance of a new relationship will not feel the same after a lengthy marriage, and a couple who marries purely for tax benefits needs to realize that the financial reasons for marriage should not be the only reason for tying the knot.

Why People Shouldn't Get Married

Bride and groom looking at a pond in a park

Even while couples consider why they want to get married, they should also note some reasons not to get married. Getting married for poor, unrealistic reasons can lead to a bitter, unhappy marriage or a painful divorce, and while those results may seem far away on the wedding day, couples who understand why they want to get married can be better prepared for sharing a happy lifetime together.Poor reasons to get married could include:

  • Planning to take advantage of a future spouse's fame or financial success.
  • Needing a spouse to escape an unhappy family or parental situation.
  • Assuming that marriage is the next logical step for every relationship.
  • Getting married in order to be the center of attention and throw an elaborate party.

Every couple can answer the question "why do people get married" in a different way. The best way to answer, however, is truthfully - a couple who understands the reasons why they want to get married will be better prepared to spend their lives together without unrealistic expectations of what their marriage will bring.

Why Do People Get Married?